Mammoet – Ensuring floating wind realizes potential – Long Read
Floating wind can play a major role in the world reaching carbon neutrality in the coming decades, but as a maturing technology there is not yet a standard implementation proven at commercial scale. Francisco Rodrigues, Mammoet Global Segment Lead for Offshore Wind, discusses how engineered heavy lifting and logistics can help this exciting technology to mature and realize its potential.
The overwhelming majority of offshore wind farms in our waters today are comprised of ‘fixed bottom’ turbines. As the name suggests, these sit on top of foundations that have been physically driven into the seabed, generating power that travels via a substation back to land.
Generally speaking, offshore wind farms benefit from stronger and more reliable winds than on land, because they lie in locations where that wind is not interrupted by the heat from cities, or physically stopped by large mountains. However, the yield of coastal wind pales in comparison to those you can find further out to sea.
Around 80% of the world’s offshore wind generation potential lies away from the shore, over waters deeper than 60m. But in such extreme depths it becomes more difficult or actually impossible to hammer turbine foundations into place.
So, over the last decade, floating wind technology has started to emerge. Rather than connecting directly to the ocean floor, this technology instead consists of a floating foundation with a turbine on top, tethered to an anchor in the depths.
Not only does floating wind allow greater flexibility to install wind parks where the flows are strongest and most reliable, it also removes many of the restrictions presented by fixed bottom turbines, such as the need for shallow water and a specific type of seabed – meaning more countries will be able to benefit from it.
However, the structure of floating wind assets is significantly different to fixed bottom designs: its foundations weigh thousands of tonnes – sometimes over ten thousand. To date, there have been multiple successful prototype projects using different foundation designs, but each of these have only installed a small handful of turbines.
To unlock the potential of floating wind, the most effective methods of constructing wind parks at scale must be established as soon as possible, and standardized. Given their high potential yield, floating wind farms provide a fast route to de-carbonize the world’s energy supply – and engineered heavy logistics will play a central role in achieving this.
Follow this link to read the complete paper with the following topics:
- Efficient fabrication and load-out
- Upgrading ports to accommodate floating wind projects
- Launching 16,000t components
- Super crane capacity will be key
- Maintenance needs innovation and experience
- Developing floating wind at scale
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